Artur Davis - The Real Consequence of a “No” on Syria
After a week of national debate, I think I follow the arguments for the pending Syrian force resolution before Congress: air strikes won’t threaten Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power; and they may or may not deter Assad from continuing the devastation of his own citizenry (which, by the way, has been well underway for the better part of two years without any attempt at American intervention.) Bombing would enforce the conscience of an international community that also happens to be conspicuously unwilling to act, even under the auspices of the usual fig leaves, NATO and the UN Security Council.
True, Assad is not even remotely on the verge of exporting his destruction to his neighbors, and there is not a shred of evidence linking him to any credible threat to our homeland. But we should push ahead in the interests of future presidents having the flexibility to rattle sabers with credibility: and by the way, you are likely guilty of being an unsophisticated strategic thinker or an isolationist if you disagree.
That’s a lot of caveats, and concessions, in the service of a hypothetical. No surprise, then, that the prospects for Syrian resolution are crumbling in the House of Representatives, and the backlash has even generated the inconceivable—a bipartisan coalition for restraining Barack Obama’s consistently limitless vision of his authority. But despite the weakness of the substantive case for air strikes, it’s still worth addressing the institutional one that is becoming the rationale of last resort.